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Friday, March 11, 2011

A message from your Dads

This letter was written by Vince and I before we left India. It is meant to be a closure for this blog. There will be no more postings on Karmic Gift. I will however, due to lots of encouragement, be starting a new blog soon. Vince and I thank all of our readers and we hope you have enjoyed following us on this journey. Those wanting information on the surrogacy process are welcome to email us and we will assist where possible.

Dear Willow and Taylor,

You are the result of 20 years of love and commitment between your two Dad's. Two Dad's who met when they were both young and still deciding their own paths in life. After they met they knew that they both wanted a life with each other. They also knew that as much as their love was enough, their was always room for something a little more. A family of their own. They held onto this dream and investigated every possibility and opportunity with an innate passion. Eventually they found a way to create their own family and they pursued it with just as much passion and where successful in fulfilling that element of their lives that was missing. Your arrival filled that void and made them complete.

Both Dad's are lucky enough to have amazing families that have loved and supported them over the years. These are now your families, who at the moment are desperate to meet you and to smother you with love and joy. To accept you into their lives as grandchildren, nieces and cousins. They also have some amazing friends who too are waiting to meet you. All of these people will surround you and Shepard you through life, providing love, guidance and support.

An amazing gift was given to your Dad's by a lady that they have never met. It was her choice to anonymously provide us with hers eggs to allow us to conceive you. It was also the gift of another amazing lady to carry you and provide you with life. Neither of us have the words to express our thanks to these two amazing human beings. But we need you to know that we are forever grateful to them for the gift that they have given us, in you. There is no denying the commercial nature of your arrival into this world. Ours was a commercial arrangement and we will always acknowledge this. However we tried with all of our might to try and infuse some love and spirit into the whole process. We need you to know that the dollar value of this process will never and can never reflect your worth to us. You are our greatest treasure, our greatest act in life, our legacy.

We decided long ago that we would make a record of this journey and that we would always provide you with as much information as possible. We would not with hold any information and always provide the truth when asked. This blog goes a long way towards that. There are things that were not appropriate to share in a public forum and this information is always there for you should you wish. The blog is also to help others who are investigating surrogacy as a process of having a family of their own. It was also a means of sharing the journey with the family and friends we have spoken of. We hope is meets some of the needs you will have in regards to wanting to know where you came from. It was also meant to increase the understanding of others so that maybe, they could grow to be a little more tolerant.

You have a unique heritage, being born in the country many consider the cradle of civilisation and belonging to one of the world's youngest nations. Your ancestry can be traced back to the 1400's and much of it has been recorded thanks to industrious members of the family. We have decided to always acknowledge your Indian connection but will raise you as little Aussies and to the best of our abilities, as children of the Earth.

Ours is a family. Make no mistake about that. You are our daughters. We will love, nourish, protect and shelter you as you go through life. There are going to be times when our family is judged by others and you will be faced with the ignorance of others. At times they may seek to harm you out of their own beliefs or hatred. We can only offer you some advice. We have always lived by the belief that you should treat others as you would like others to treat you. Respect other differences and beliefs and do not judge. At the same time do not allow others beliefs to hinder or harm you. Stand up for yourself and when you need to, trust in the others who do love you. Turn to them for help. They will always be there. No matter what anyone else says we are family. People will come to know this as time goes by. There are so many other unique families out there and through our journey we have met some of them.

We know that our time with you is going to pass quicker each day as we watch you grow. It is only a matter of time before you fly and we just want you to know that we will never hold you down or hold you back. We will encourage you to spread your wings. To take on life's challenge and find who you are. Be who you need to be. We will always be there behind you, watching and loving.

It was always our intent to record this journey as a public and permanent record for you and others. However we also knew that once you were here and home with us that we would no longer continue to make entries. Your lives should be private and our journey as a family our own. It should be your choice on what you want to share with the world. Those around you who need too will be able to follow on as part of you lives. To all those who have followed this journey we offer them thanks on your behalf.

So we say goodbye to Karmic Gift, the story of your beginning and of the creation of our family.

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back,

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

May the rains fall soft upon your fields,

And, until we meet again,

May God hold you in the hollow of His hand

Love, peace and best wishes to you both.

Dad and Papa.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Life consists of moments in time, perpetually moving forward until that instant when the moments cease to exist. Moments become memories, never to happen again. We capture these memories with our minds and try to save them with technology in an attempt to relive them. Some moments are so precious that they take precedence above all.  Moments can easily be missed or not recognised for the momentous occasion that they are. We are trying to capture all of the moments we are currently experiencing. Trying to slow the pace of time. To savour each moment, good bad or other. 

The last week has been trying to say the least. After such a dream start things went a little pear shaped. Taylor developed colic and reflux, going all Pro heart on our carpet and furniture. She was screaming for hours at night with neither of us able to console her. Willow decided to try feeding every other hour and to see how much she could take before spilling. Vince started his intensive unit at uni, his last unit for his MBA. He was not expecting to be at uni from 8 til 8 each day, leaving me home with two very upset little girls.

Not all moments are positive. Yet even at our worst moments this week we made amazing new memories. Thanks to the grandparents we coped and are getting through it. We had our first visit to PMH and were impressed with the care. We were in and out in less than 3 hours. Taylor has medication to help her reflux and things are settling back to what ever normality we had. So many people shared their experiences and advice with us, which helped us feel less like we were doing things wrong. Most of what we were told we already new, but it was nice to hear it from others. Vince has been amazing. He is so calm and focused when dealing with the girls. He is the most patient man I know. I a learning to control some of the more extreme emotions I am experiencing. I have always been an emotional being. I know that fatigue heightens these emotions and have learned to recognise when I need to step back and recharge. I have also been able to support Vince by trying to ensure that he has been getting the support he needs. But I will be glad when this week is over and I know he definitely will too.

Now about those moments that they don't tell you about. I have never been so constipated in my life! lol. It seems that every time I want to go to the littlest room in the house the girls have other plans for me. I never quite get to drink enough myself. Or the fashion faux pas when you get up in the middle of the night and realise that everything is on backwards and in side out. That your shirt has lovely white marks down the back of it. Or that baby vomit is acid enough to cause a lite bleaching affect on some clothing items. That two little human beings can manage to produce an entire hamper of washing in one day and if you don't hang the washing out straight away and leave it sitting in the basket wet that the dyes of some items will run. Often creating interesting patterns on your best shirt. That you do not hold a baby that has reflux up in front of your face because they will vomit in your mouth. I won't go on because I am embarrassed!!

I have been able to get out a little with Willow and Taylor. Mostly catching up with work friends and colleagues. I have to admit that I get a thrill out of every one's responses to the girls.
 We attended an open day at the Perth Montessori school. The Montessori system has always appealed to us and we wanted to learn more and see what the local school was like. The Perth Montessori takes 0-17 year old allowing children to complete their entire education at one school. We both came away even more committed to giving the girls a Montessori education. Everyone made us so welcome and we love the fact that the school has a very strong focus on community. I am planning to visit the play group in the next month or so. Besides this school we would be happy with our local primary school. Is is one of the older ones in the area and again has a great community feel. Secondary school is another matter. We do not want to send the girls to a religious school. Mainly because at sometime or other they will be told that the love that their parents have for each other is wrong and neither of us wants that. The Montessori system teaches values and tolerance.

Live in the moment and enjoy the memories. J.

Vince, Willow, Taylor and I want to welcome little Isla Ann McPharlin into the world!

Hugh and his new sister Isla

Monday, February 28, 2011


This is a public blog and therefore I will leave comments that are simply a statement of belief. The girls can judge for themselves their relevance. However I will remove any comments that threaten any kind of negative act against Willow and Taylor. It would be nice though for people to have courage in their convictions and beliefs and not post comments anonymously.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Heat Wave

I'm so hot!
Grandpere has been here today finishing off putting ceiling fans in for us. Grandmere baby sat the girls while we attended an open day at the local Montessori school. We were impressed and are going to enrol the girls. But more on that later. Today's topic is the heatwave we are experiencing. The humidity is stifling and the fact that our minimum temperature has not been under 20c for over a week is not helping anyone sleep at night. Even though they are sleeping longer, they are not getting quality sleep and are very unsettled. They are also feeding more to keep hydrated from sweating so much. We have bought a new split system for our living room which is not going in until the 9th March. I think we may well camp in the one room if the weather is still the same after that. So far we have been lucky to keep the dreaded heat rash at bay. Mosquitos are another story. Both the girls have bites everywhere despite using sprays and repellents (not on the girls). We have never had problems with mosquitos inside before. They seem to be everywhere. Tomorrow we are going to put up the net we have.

One saving grace is that Willow and Taylor both love a bath and the shower. It is a great way to cool them off and make them a little more comfortable.

Another bonus us that the washing has dropped off. It has been so hot that the girls are most comfortable in just a singlet and nappy. So much for the expensive Grobags (although they are great and work well). It is just to hot for them. Even the 1 tog are too warm.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Curry and Brown Dogs

When we got home Vince's Mum told us that the family was coming for lunch at our place on the 20th to meet the girls and to celebrate Uncle Jacks birthday. Rae said not to worry, that everyone was bringing a dish and that we would not have to lift a finger. Well that was yesterday. It went so well and we did not have to lift a finger. So we would like to volunteer for these types of gatherings anytime :-). There was a great choice of food including chicken curry. The problem with all the curry dishes is the brown dog affect afterwards. Brown Dogs is the affectionate name for farting in Vince's family and some people are better at it than others. Uncle Jack and Deb cooked samosas which were so yummy when freshly cooked. I was able to share a special bottle of bubbly that I had and the women of the family wet the girls head with a toast and a promise to be there for them for advice, guidance and support. When everyone left there was only a couple of dishes to put away and a few chairs to put back in the shed.

We were having such a great time catching up with everyone and showing off Willow and Taylor that we forgot one of our other babies. Spike the tennis ball marauder is a typical Kelpie. As long as someone is throwing a ball he will run all day. Yesterday that is what he did. There was a group of very enthusiastic kids willing to throw the ball and he was having a ball (literally). The problem was that we normally limit this to an hour or so because we know what he is like. Of course we never thought and he ran himself to the point of heat exhaustion and we almost lost him. Luckily our friend Louise noticed the change in him and called me. He then collapsed. He got worse and was incontinent and at times non responsive. We cooled him and gave him fluids slowly. We could not get hold of our vet. Mum called our friend Jude who is a vet and she was so great. Jude came over and checked him, gave him some IV fluids and sub cut fluids. By nine thirty he was back on his feet, albeit a little groggy and a little worse for wear. We are keeping him very quiet and hydrated. Being as tired as we were, we were very emotional and Jude was very comforting. We owe Jude big time.
We also had a laugh because Spike was continually leaking urine while Jude was treating him. So Vince whacked a couple of the girls nappies under him and we all laughed thinking that we would never have dreamed that we would use them for that. As he began to respond to the fluids and became more aware of himself he was mortified that he was wetting inside. Poor Spikey. So after all the brown dogs during the day, it was our black dog that caused us the most grief. No balls or kongs at the next gathering!!

Life is never dull.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Those moments in time

Some people have amazing talents. The girls have been blessed with a number of very special gifts that have been hand crafted for them. I have been overwhelmed with peoples generosity. I know that I need to write thank you cards on behalf of the girls. At the start I was keeping a book with a list of who gave us what. However I soon lost track because there were so many. I will endeavour to sit one day and send cards. In reality it may not happen with how busy the girls keep us.

So we need to express our gratitude to all those who have provided us with gifts for

Willow and Taylor  

Thank you!

Unpacking seemed to take us almost a whole week. At one stage it felt like someone spewed baby all over the house. Most everthing is now back in it's rightful place and the house is almost back in order . We have had a lot of help from our Mum's who have come and cared for the girls while we get on with it. They have also helped sort cloths, washed and ironed as well. As much as it has been a help having them do all of this, the special moments of watching them with their granddaughters are what we will remember. My Mum has had her first teary call with a tired, overwhelmed son on the end of the line uttering the single word of "help". I think this made her whole week. I know that her arriving and taking two very tired girls and cuddling them until they settled while I found the paperwork I was desperately looking for made my day. I was trying to find the documents I needed to go and get the girls their medicare cards. They now both have Medicare cards and I have registered for the Paid Parental Leave.

Willow and Taylor like so many babies have their night and day mixed up. They sleep all day (despite our constant attempts to keep them awake and numerous cuddles from so many people) and then are waking for almost hourly feeds over night. We have been given so much advice and read all the online blogs, baby sites and even some research, most of all follow a similar theme. We have tried most of the advice to no avail. Time is going to prove the best remedy and we pretty much knew that. Working together as a team we are coping. We are tired and not functioning as well as we would like but we knew all of this. We are managing to get into a routine and are relishing the motivation that these two little human beings are creating for us. For every time we snap at each other (which is rare) there are twice many grins, smile and tears of joy. Amazingly we have still manages a little us time. This might be sharing a quick meal, snatching ten minutes of a movie together or just a quite cuddle and conversation about our daughters!

One of the gifts we received was a solid 6 hours sleep when Lorissa came and stayed for the night. She volunteered the do a night shift with the girls. Poor thing was doing hourly feeds all night and looked shattered in the morning. We were so grateful and secretly pleased that the girls followed their usual pattern. It meant they weren't just doing it for us.

Anyone who knows us knows that one of our most favourite places is Bunnings. It's used to be about three or four local hardware stores. But they have all since gone out of business, mostly due to Bunnings. The girls were lucky enough to have their first outing to Bunnings just two days after arriving home. They were very well behaved and also meant that we got lots of personal service.

Some of the best moments we have had so far have been those silly little moments when something so simple can make you laugh from deep in your belly. They girls are really good at creating those moments. Like when we went for tea at Grandmere and Grandpere's. Grandmere offered to hold Taylor who was demanding a cuddle while the rest of us ate. Taylor paid Grandmere back with one of the biggest pukes we have seen. It was huge and Grandmere just took it in her stride. Or when Taylor showed us she was a big girl and could hold her own bottle (with the pram's help). These are the moments in time that we are learning to appreciate and treasure. So much has happened and I would love to put it all down for prosperity. But I don't want to miss any of the moments. So unfortunately they have to wait until I can steal away a few moments with the computer.

Today we have some of Vince's family coming to our house to celebrate Uncle Jack's birthday. Everyone is bringing a dish and we have been told that we don't have to do anything, that everyone else will take care of it. That we just enjoy every one's company and let everyone meet the girls. We are looking forward to it. The only thing that is concerning us it that the baby stuff that I mentioned earlier still looks like it has been spewed all over the house and the house needs some serious TLC in regards to dust and fur balls. But hey. We have only been home a week and a bit.

At least the house will be nice and cool. Yesterday Grandpere came and put ceiling fans in most of the rooms of the house. The evaporative airconditioning does not cope with the humidity. Mumbai was hot but very dry and the girls (and Dad!) are not coping with the humidity. Willow and Taylor were very grateful to Grandpere. Especially because they slept well last night because the fans kept them cool.

Well best be off to collect some of the fur balls before everyone arrives.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Getting to Know you

Aroma Therapy
We have been home for a week now and are still just settling in. There is still stuff all over the house and we are slowly finding space for everything we accumulated while away. One of our favourite moments since getting home was when we opened the back door after arriving home from the airport. Spike, Bilbo and Maggy never expected us to be there and it took them a few seconds to register who had opened the door at that time of the morning. At this point I should apologise to our neighbours for the noise because Spike and Bilbo both started that excited yelping that only a dog can do. They then did the stationary run action as the tried to gain grip on the floor to race to us.

All the rules went out the window and they jumped, licked, howled and even let go of a little wee in their excitement. Maggy was even excited and was rubbing on our legs. Then they spotted these two noisy creatures and just stood still. Bilbo had a look saying "new toy's'". Spike was immediately on guard. At the first cry Maggy retreated to our ensuite, or her private abode as she likes to think. We know Spike will take time to adjust to not being the number one and we are giving him lots of support. Even a little aroma therapy (see the photo with one of the girls bibs on). All three of our animal babies have been very well behaved. We will keep an eye on them and have not left them alone with the girls. Bilbo the food hobbit is always very interested in the bottles. Maggy loves all of the extra piles of washing to curl up on. Spike, well he just has his nose out joint. But when they are old enough to throw a ball they will be his best friends. For now though we just want him to take ownership of them as part of the pack.

During the first week we have had a number of visitors and had a couple of outings. I have said before that we were so lucky having the time to ourselves with Willow and Taylor to bond and become the new family that we are. It also meant that we were ready to see our friends and family and to share our girls. Being as proud as we are there is also a little aspect of showing off. The "look what we did" factor. I have added a few photos to capture some of the special visitors we have had so far. I know the girls aren't even aware of the world around them at the moment. So I really want to capture the moments of love, acceptance, trust and support they have experienced during the past week. I have also added numerous shots to the slide show on the main page.


As you can see the girls love to play pass the parcel. They are so good and don't mind at all. As long as someone along the line has a bottle waiting for them.

We love our family and friends dearly and want to thank them all again. It is great to be home.

J, V, W & T

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Night and Day

This has been the longest break between posts for a while. It has something to do with a pair of little girls who have taken over our lives. We have the "new parent" vague look that I have heard about also according to a number of people who have commented as such. We are not quite exhausted, but very tired. Willow and Taylor have their night and day reversed, as is the case with so many newborns. We are working through the various methods of trying to reverse their sleeping patterns. They have so far been resistant to all attempts. So we will persevere and cope as you do. One of the best things about being home is the help that is out there and we are not afraid to seek it. After all the girls come first and we are no use to them if we are dead on our feet. The best thing though is that we are home.

The trip home was no where near as bad as it could have been. The only complaint we could make was that we were stung for excess luggage when we checked in. The cost was $A475 dollars and I know that it was wrong. Dad had used his frequent flyer points to request and upgrade for us and we were lucky enough to be upgraded for both legs. We knew the night before we were due to leave and were not concerned about our luggage because the upgrade gave us extra check in weight. All of our bags were only about a kilo over each. When we checked in though the girl checking us in was more interested in making sure that someone was relieving her and checked our luggage at economy weights and also included the travel cot in the weight so we were 12 kilos over according to her and she was not interested in listening. Unfortunately I was also not interested in arguing and did not want to rock the boat. We were already a bit of a novelty and had attracted attention. We had quite an audience. So I paid the bill so that we could get our boarding passes. Then one of the senior staff who was processing the bill realised the girls mistake. They kindly tried to reverse the transaction on my credit card. It took five people and almost 3/4 of an hour to realise that they did not know how to do it. The girls were due a feed by this time and were starting to stir, so I told them to leave it.

When we got to the immigration desk we were really nervous. Sometimes it all depends on who is serving you. We had a really generous man who complimented the girls, processed us without any questions and wished us luck and a safe journey. Going through security was also a breeze and we were able to move onto the Qantas Club where we had coffee, fed and changed the girls before boarding. At this stage we were very thankful of Pop and his frequent flyer points. When we boarded and turned left instead of right it was a whole new world. We were assisted to settle and then offered drinks. The sky beds were awesome and the massage function very welcome. At this stage Pop was a hero!! The staff on both flights could not help us enough and were very considerate. The girls behaved the whole way and we managed to get a little sleep. We nursed the girls on our chests for most of the trip and just thoroughly enjoyed it. The three course meal was a welcome treat (especially the sweets trolley). We partook of a little champers, which meant that I did doze and without my CPAP machine I annoyed our fellow travellers more that the girls occasional squawk with my snoring.

Being the size that I am (oh, and I lost 10kg while away. That makes a total of 21kg since May. Yay me) I was a little concerned that I would not be able to use the toilets to change the girls and unfortunately hand balled this to Vince. Then on the last leg I thought "this is crazy. I have to be able to do it" and tired with success. One more excuse not  to change the girls down the drain!

As we came into land in Perth we both got very emotional. We were so happy and we sat there and cried tears of joy as the plane touched down, on time! At immigration we had another generous gentleman who welcomed home the "new Aussies" and again wished us luck. We were home.
As we got our luggage a Qantas lady approached us as  to see the "gorgeous" babies who "looked to young to travel and be away from their Mum". When I explained that they were mine and Vince's and that they were just arriving home we got bombarded with twenty questions and showered with praise. She then proceeded to have us ushered through customs to let the "little darlings get to there waiting family and friends". Needles to say I was very grateful because I had declared a number of things and on her say so "that there was nothing dangerous" the customs lady let us through.

As we walked through the gate we spotted Grandmere, Grandpere, Grandma, Sandra, Tess, Damian, Geoffrey, Peter, Alison, Jack and Deb, all there to welcome us home. Poor Grandma had been sick and we initially said that it might be best that she not come. Then we said to come but to stand back, use hand gel and were a mask. But when the time came I could not do it to her. The twins had survived 5 weeks in Mumbai. They could survive a desperate grandparent. So I walked up to Mum and place Taylor in her arms. It was one of those moments that would make a chick flick worth it. You know, a beaches moment. We both cried and I could see the absolute pure love and joy flowing from this women who only wants to love and has always needed someone to love. The same was true when Grandpere took Willow and then Grandmere. By this time we had also garnered an audience and we even had strangers coming up to us congratulate us. One lady came up and told us that she had watched us all the way from Mumbai and new that "those girls have been blessed with two amazing loving fathers". I am so glad that we always carry hankies in our pockets.

Well that was our arrival. I need to go and get a few hours sleep before the girls stir and so will say good night with the promise of another post to come shortly.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

We're Home

We are home and it is everything we wanted, expected and more. But, just a single photo tonight. It says so many words. We are so exhausted and are going to bed so I will make another posting shortly. Lorissa has kindly come to do the night shift for us so we can sleep. But this picture as I said says so much:

Grandmere and Grandma


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thank You India and Farewell

Today was our last day in India. It has been a long journey, with more ups than downs. We have been blessed and are leaving with our new family. As much as we could not wait to go home, we were a little sad to say our goodbyes today. This country has allowed us to fulfil one of our deepest dreams. It could not be any more different than home, but so similar in others.

One of the thank yous and goodbyes we got to say today was to the wonderful birth mother of our Willow and Taylor. Dr Meenakshi organised a celebratory lunch in our little princesses honour. Invited were another couple from Canada and also Alan from Australia who we have been liaising with via email. We were provided with a delectable feast of local cuisine all home cooked. It was amazing and I went back for thirds with out hesitation. Following lunch we got to see our surrogate and to show her the amazing gift she had afforded us in our two girls. As is her beautiful nature, she allowed us to have some photos taken and we took advantage to get a shot of her with us and the twins. For us this was one of those life moments that you just don't forget. Dr Meenakshi also joined in, feeding the girls and posing for a picture or two. We really enjoyed the moment and it was even more special when we were able to give our surrogate the small token of thanks we had bought.

Earlier we had discussed the possibility of providing ongoing support to our surrogates family. Dr Meenakshi has agreed to organise for us to provide some ongoing support in assisting our surrogates own children to attend school and complete their early education, if our surrogate agrees. We can do this by paying tuition directly to the school. It is up to her and her family whether or not to accept the offer. We hope that we can. If not we have investigated other ways to contribute. We are so lucky and it would be nice to be able to give back a little. So many of our friends are involved in various organisations and it would make us happy to continue our involvement with the growing community of surrogates in India who are simply trying to provide for their families.
Tonight we spent a couple of hours packing. It took a while to try and sort out our belongings which seemed to double in the weeks that we have been here. We have managed to fill a whole third suitcase with various purchases. eventually it all fitted. The only concern we have is the actual weight of the cases when we get to the airport. We are both very relieved that thanks to my Dad's frequent flyer points we are flying home business class (unless Qantas decides to revoke our upgrade overnight). It will be nice having the space with the two girls.

We say thank you and take our leave. Unsure whether or not we will be back. Only the future knows that.